These prognathous New Englanders are musicianly (all things are relative) inheritors of the Grand Funk principle: if a band is going to be dumb, it might as well be American dumb.
Talking Heads 77 [Sire, 1977]
A debut LP will often seem overrefined to habitues of a band's scene, so it's not surprising that many CBGBites felt betrayed when bits of this came out sounding like Sparks or Yes. Personally, I was even more put off by lyrics that fleshed out the Heads' post-Jonathan Richman, so-hip-we're-straight image;
Secret Treaties [Columbia, 1974]
Sometime over the past year, while I wasn't playing their records, I began to wonder whether a cross between the Velvet Underground and Uriah Heep was my idea of a good time.
Little Feat [Warner Bros., 1970]
Lots of "tight" groups are influenced by the Band these days, but these guys could almost pass for them. The sensibility is freakier ("Strawberry Flats" is a weary state-of-the-counterculture song, like Mother Earth's "Then I'll Be Moving On"), and there are shades of the country Stones ("Truck Stop Girl" is a more empathetic "Dead Flowers") as well as a convincing Howlin' Wolf imitation. But the dark instrumental interweave and pained vocals are right off Music From Big Pink.
Remote Luxury [Warner Bros., 1984] (The Church)
I see these Aussies as the wimp Del Fuegos--musically they wind up just where they want and epistemologically they go next to nowhere. All right, so the songs are quite pretty in a modernized early-Faces/late-Zombies kind of way--more consistently so than the '60s competition (which gives them a leg up on the Fuegos, who like the macho boys they are take on the Stones). I even get the point: the sweet, melancholy alienation the band cultivates is an attractive alternative to the crass pragmatism and/or self-righteous nihilism of their contemporaries.
Romantic Warrior [Columbia, 1976] (Return to Forever)
Jazz-rock's answer to Emerson, Lake & Palmer